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Wallace C. Swanek Park

Equipment by KSL, Berliner Seilfabrik.

Surface: wood chips.

This was the final playground in our “cross-border triple” – an adventure that spanned three playgrounds, all within a few hundred metres of each other: Elm Park in York, this one in North York, and Grattan Park, right on the border.

Despite its proximity to the previous two playgrounds on our agenda, Wallace C Swanek felt much different: bigger, more wide-open, grass halfway between green and brown in the merciless sun of 2021’s late summer.

It’s also got the best equipment of the three. Most of it is by KSL – a company whose equipment you don’t see too much around Toronto – and provides some good climbing options, plus some features I don’t recall seeing anywhere else. KSL’s Earth Orb, for example; a little pod with climbing holds around the outside, and holes for access on the sides and top. There are three of them here, and my two kids and I occupied one each while waiting for an imaginary pot of spaghetti to boil. There are also three of what KSL calls the “Rocktagon”, which is pretty much what it sounds like.

Add to that one of my favourite types of rope climbers and you’ve got a pretty solid playground. Once again, there are some unfortunate omissions: no sand box, no bathrooms, not water play. But it was a nice end point for our three-playground adventure.

As I sat there in my Earth Orb reflecting on the day, the number three kept popping into my head. Our adventure had included three playgrounds, each with equipment by different companies, and therefore with different personalities. And here we were, three different personalities ourselves, sitting in our three Earth Orbs, next to three Rocktagons, across from three picnic tables. And then (and I’m not making this up) a friendly but slightly eccentric man rode up on a tricycle – the number 3 again – and started telling me all about the history of flooding in the area.

I didn’t catch much of what he said, because I was a bit concerned that he may have been out tricycling around all day in 38-degree heat, but he was a friendly chap, and I considered telling him about our “cross-border triple” adventure because I figured if anyone would be interested, it’d be him. But he said something about his dog and rode away before I had the chance.

Maybe you’ll see him when you complete the cross-border triple yourself.

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